Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's that time of year.

Sure, it's tax time.

Sure, it's almost Opening Day (and the Tigers are looking gooooood).

Sure, it's spring.

But it's also that time of year where things get a whole hell of a lot busier for yours-truly. I'm coaching baseball again, and for April that means two morning practices a week. Gonna have to be at the school at 7:30. That means getting up at 6:00. Good christ.

* * * * *

Currently listening to a streaming preview of the new album by The Mars Volta, Noctourniquet, on the Rolling Stone website (here). If you've followed the Volta for the past few years, you know they're not the easiest listen in the world. Far from it, actually; they make absolutely terrible background music. You put this on, you're gonna want to cancel all your plans.

The biggest hurdle for most people is the vocal stylings of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, who is a unique singer to say the least. For their first two albums he was somewhat Geddy Lee-ish, normally hanging out up-high; it was peculiar, but at least you knew what you were getting. Afterward, he's gone down in his vocal register quite a bit, and to be honest I don't really like the sound of his voice down there as much as before. It's just... weird.

As for the music, it's gotten a little less wacked-out-19-minute-prog-epic-ish... but to be honest that's why I started listening to them in the first place. However, on Noctourniquet, some of that comes back, and I'm a fan — you can really hear it in the third track, "Dyslexicon". That's some vintage Volta right there.

Be forewarned, though. The first track, "The Whip Hand", is not kind. It is just not a kind thing to do to your ears. If you really can't handle it, though, I assure you the next few cuts are gentler... but they ain't no Barry Manilow LP.

Rhythmically, they're up to a lot of their usual tricks: odd beats, changing time signatures, the usual fare which we've come to know and love.

So yeah, give it a listen. Don't cost nothin'. Might change ya life.

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